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Planning news - 24 June 2021

Published: Thursday, 24th June 2021

Government promises a ‘nature positive’ future, Regeneration masterplan adopted in West Midlands town, Community group awarded cash for NDO. And more stories...

Our planning news is published in association with ThePlanner, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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The UK Government has committed itself to creating a ‘nature positive’ future as part of its response to the Dasgupta Review, which was published in February 2021.

In The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review, Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta sets out the first comprehensive economic framework for biodiversity and calls for urgent change in how economic success is thought about and measured in order to protect and enhance the natural world. 

The review makes the case for nature being the “most precious asset” but “significant declines” in biodiversity are undermining the productivity, resilience and adaptability of nature. This, in turn, puts economies, livelihoods and wellbeing at risk.

Responding to the review, the government said future Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) in England, such as transport and energy projects, would be required to provide a net gain in biodiversity and habitats for wildlife. This will be set out in an amendment to the environment bill.

There will also be a goal of delivering a net gain in biodiversity on the Crewe-Manchester leg of the HS2 project.

Kemi Badenoch, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “Protecting and enhancing the natural environment, and the biodiversity that underpins it, is crucial to supporting sustainable, resilient economies, livelihoods and wellbeing.

“The government has an ambitious nature agenda and our response to the independent Dasgupta Review sets out the ways in which the government will go further to ensure our economy supports nature and wildlife – from infrastructure at home to bilateral aid spending overseas.

“In this crucial year for international action to address biodiversity loss, the UK will continue to ensure the natural environment remains at the top of the international agenda.”

Other government commitments include:

  • Making sure new UK bilateral aid spending does not do any harm to nature.
  • Working with the Office for National Statistics to improve the way nature is incorporated into national accounts.
  • Further improving government guidance for embedding environmental considerations into policymaking processes.
  • Incorporating biodiversity into the UK Government Green Financing Framework.
  • Joining the OECD Paris Collaborative on green budgeting, an initiative to encourage governments to incorporate climate and environmental considerations into their financial and fiscal decisions.

Environment secretary George Eustice added: “If we want to realise the aspiration set out in Professor Dasgupta’s landmark review to rebalance humanity’s relationship with nature, then we need policies that will both protect and enhance the supply of our natural assets.

“This is what lies at the heart of the government’s 25-year environment plan, and our new measures to embed biodiversity net gain further in the planning system for major infrastructure, through our landmark environment bill. It’s also behind our approach to future farming policy and other initiatives such as £3 billion for climate change solutions that restore nature globally and our new due diligence law to clean up our supply chains and help tackle illegal deforestation.”

Read The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review and Government’s reaction on

21 June 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Birmingham City Council has adopted a masterplan that is intended to regenerate the town centre of Sutton Coldfield.

The masterplan was developed by Tibbalds CampbellReith, alongside SQW, The Retail Group and Urban Movement.

It sets out new standards that must be met in future planning applications, as well as providing guidance for those submitting planning applications and determining them.

Overall, it aims to develop a “resilient, vibrant, and diverse town centre through coordinated regeneration activity with community at its heart”. It seeks to create a town centre that is safe and unlock its potential by attracting and retaining businesses and transforming the public realm.

Proposed development should seek to address economic and environmental challenges.

The masterplan features some big moves to improve the quality of life in the town centre, including:

  • Reducing segregation caused by the ring road to better connect Birmingham Road, Parade, High Street and Sutton Park.
  • Balancing the space given to cars, bicycles and people to create safer, more appealing streets.
  • Creating new innovative public spaces at the heart of the town centre – inspiring more community use, and improving the look and feel of Parade and Lower Parade offering more seating, lighting and greenery
  • Encouraging opportunities to broaden the type of shops, bars, restaurants and community and heritage facilities in the town centre, while promoting opportunities for town centre living.

Katja Stille, director at Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, said: “Masterplans that have progressed during the last year strongly reflect the growing recognition that our town centres have an even more crucial role to play as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“They are aimed at maximising the potential that both town centres have in enhancing the economic vitality of each area, while creating a high-quality sense of place for people and celebrating local distinctiveness and character. Health and wellbeing elements are also strongly integrated, ensuring that communities will become not just places to live and work, but places that enrich livelihoods and deliver a sense of purpose.”

17 June 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has awarded Arches Chatham Neighbourhood Forum (ACNF) a sum of £50,000 in funding to go towards the creation of one England's first neighbourhood development orders (NDO).

The money comes from the ministry's Neighbourhood Planning Programme.

The NDO covers a parcel of land in Chatham town centre along The Brook and High Street known as the Market Hall site. It comprises the former GO Outdoors, and existing HomePlus Furniture store and multistorey car park, the freehold of which is owned by Medway Council.

The forum worked with social enterprise organisation Create Streets on the NDO. It said the NDO presents an "incredible” opportunity for the community of Medway to come together and explore how the 1.5-hectare site could be used.

The site is part of Medway Council’s “vision” for “a sustainable, beautiful and child-friendly city” for people to live and thrive in.

The programme is still in its early stages. Initial conversations have centred on creating a "highly commended national” case study of best practice design and economic regeneration in a post-Covid era. Delivery of new sustainable homes for a wide cross section of the community is also required, alongside flexible community and commercial spaces. Pedestrian streets will be established to encourage healthy and sustainable travel.

It is expected that the NDO will take at least a year to finalise. Feedback sessions and design workshops will start this summer.

16 June 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford this week set out his administration’s programme for the next five years – one which is stacked with green commitments.

He insisted that climate change and the environment would be at the heart of the new government, stressing that his administration had created a “super-ministry”, which for the first time has brought together transport, planning, housing and energy.

Promised is a new 10-year infrastructure investment plan for a zero-carbon economy, a so-called Tidal Lagoon Challenge Fund designed to help make Wales a world centre of emerging tidal technologies, and moves to set a 30 per cent target for working remotely.

The first minister said the country’s digital and communications infrastructure would be upgraded, and his government would work towards a new target of 45 per cent of journeys by sustainable modes by 2040.

A clean air act, a new national forest, legislation to deal with the legacy of coal mining and the designation of a new national park covering the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley are all part of the programme.

As is opposition to the extraction of fossil fuels, both on land and in Welsh waters, and large-scale waste incineration.

The new government will support the application to identify the slate landscape of North West Wales as a World Heritage Site.

It has reaffirmed its manifesto pledge to build 20,000 new low-carbon homes for rent and will support cooperative housing and community-led initiatives and community land trusts.

Drakeford promised to implement a new Wales transport strategy and said new regional transport plans would be formulated.

He said the administration would ensure that each region “had effective and democratically accountable means of developing their future economies”.

Plans for a metro in North Wales and, separately in Swansea Bay, will be progressed.

The programme promises additional flood protection for more than 45,000 homes, masterplans for towns and high streets and more community green spaces in town centres. Legislation is promised to strengthen the requirement for sustainable drainage systems to provide wildlife habitats. The administration will make 20mph the default speed limit in residential areas and ban pavement parking wherever possible. It will also consult on legislation permitting local authorities to raise a tourism levy.

18 June 2021
Roger Milne, The Planner

Telford and Wrekin Council has granted planning permission for a 329-home mixed-tenure  development on a 14.85-hectare brownfield site off Donnington Wood Way in Telford.

The development is being brought forward by a partnership between Telford & Wrekin Council, Nuplace Ltd, the council’s wholly owned housing company, Lovell Partnerships Ltd and housing association Wrekin Housing Group.

In line with the council’s housing strategy, the site will comprise properties for open market sale, private and affordable rent and rent-to-buy, as well as dementia care and supported living units. Of the homes, 66 homes are being built for Nuplace for private rent, while 77 will be for open market sale from Lovell.

Wrekin Housing Group will be responsible for the extra care facility, which includes dementia care apartments with supported living provision.

Properties will have PV panels and electric car charging points.

The development will be built by Lovell, which has already developed nine Nuplace sites across the borough over the past six years. A new community hub and children's play area will also be delivered. 

Construction work is due to start in summer 2021 and will continue until early 2025.

David Wright, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “This promises to be another excellent development for the borough which will deliver against many of the council’s strategic objectives relating to housing and our green agenda.

“Regenerating the site and meeting the local housing need will, however, be carefully balanced with the need to enhance and protect this precious, ecologically rich environment. This is a very special location and we want to make sure it remains a home for nature as much as it will become a home for local people.”

17 June 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Sedbergh homes approved

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committees have approved plans for 34 affordable homes in Sedbergh, Cumbria.

The homes are part of a housing association-led development of 49 homes. They will have three bedrooms, a garden and parking spaces, and will be heated by air source pumps.

The development will be built on the west side of the town off Station Road in a field which has in part been allocated for housing in the local plan.

The permission is subject to a legal agreement on the number of affordable units being built and a set of ‘‘local connection criteria’ for the new owners or tenants.


Views sought on Fareham’s revised plan

Fareham Borough Council is consulting on its proposals to achieve housing numbers required by the government as part of its work to finalise a new local plan.

Executive leader of the council Seán Woodward said: “The development of our local plan has been complicated and set back by a number of changes outside our control. The government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has determined that our housing requirement should be increased yet again and we have been working tirelessly to deliver a local plan which achieves these additional houses without compromising the area’s distinctive characteristics which is a huge challenge.

“This consultation is the final opportunity for our residents to have their say before the new revised publication local plan is submitted to the government for consideration.”

The consultation will close on Friday 30 July.

View the online consultation and access further information.


Lichfield plans under the spotlight

Lichfield District Council has asked residents, businesses and visitors to the city centre for their thoughts on ideas that aim to improve public spaces around the city, linking to work on pedestrianisation, improved car parking, sustainable infrastructure and development of the Birmingham Road site.

The plans will be on display at the Nurture Nest Community Space in Lichfield’s Three Spires Shopping Centre between 9.30am and 4.30pm for two weeks from Monday 21 June to Friday 2 July.

Liz Little, cabinet member for major projects, said: “Our Public Realm Strategy is about making improvements to the public spaces in and around Lichfield city centre and building on the overall proposals set out in our Lichfield City Centre Masterplan.

“We want to cultivate distinctive, local solutions with the people who know the city best, so engagement with residents, businesses and visitors to Lichfield city centre is always going to be central to this project.”

More information can be found on the council website.


Council permits Saltash development

Cornwall Council has granted planning permission for 387 homes at Treledan and Stoketon, on the eastern edge of Saltash.

The new community, named Treledan, will be delivered by Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes.

The homes will have either two, three or four bedrooms.

The developers said the design and materials for the homes take “inspiration directly from neighbouring historic buildings and the local style and character of communities nearby”.

The development will also feature public open space and cycle and pedestrian routes, while hedgerows will be maintained to protect local biodiversity.


Homes to be built on golf course near Coventry

Nuneaton and Bedworth Council has approved plans for 204 homes on the former Hawkesbury Golf Course. Regeneration specialist Vistry Partnerships will deliver the development.

Following approval, the firm completed a deal to purchase the land.

Nearly half of the homes will be available as affordable housing (shared ownership and affordable rent) through housing association Platform Housing, and 103 homes will be for sale on the open market. They will be a mix of terraced, semi-detached and detached homes with either two, three or four bedrooms. A small number of one and two-bedroom maisonettes will also be offered. 

Plans also include a community building to encourage social interaction, as well as allotments, orchards and a BMX track.


Medical centre to be increased as part of Southwark development

Southwark Council has granted planning permission for a medical practice to be increased in size and a car-free residential scheme at Falmouth Road, Southwark.

The medical practice at Falmouth Road’s floor space will double from 520 square metres to 1,047 square metres. It is expected that the medical centre will cater 85 per cent more patients in the area.

The scheme will deliver 39 residential units, of which 41 per cent (16) will be affordable. There will be 245 square metres of communal amenity space delivered across rooftop terraces.

The scheme will also deliver a green biosolar roof.

22 June 2021
Laura Edgar, The Planner